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Young Cape musicians named ambassadors for global initiative

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Paxton Fielies, the Inkwenkwezi Band and the Jazz Yard Academy have accepted the honorable mission to act as ambassadors for the 'You Me Equal Rights' initiative.

SA Idols winner Paxton Fielies performs with members of the Inkwenkwezi Band.

The World’s Children’s Prize Ceremony kicked off a new initiative, ‘You Me Equal Rights’, on Thursday in which girls and boys will work together for girls’ equal rights. 

Nine young musicians from Cape Town received the WCP Crystal Globe and accepted the honorable mission to act as ambassadors for You Me Equal Rights.

The nine musicians are Idols winner Paxton Fielies, 17, from Bishop Lavis, members of The Jazz Yard Academy Band from Bonteheuwel: Curtley Cerfontein, 16, Quinley Lodewyk, 17, Tyrese Stuurman, 14, and Charlton Moses, 16, and members of Inkwenkwesi Stars from Khayelitsha: Simbongile Sam, 16, Zintle Kati, 16, Bonga Hatana, 16, and Athenkosi Halu, 16.

The musicians also performed at a ceremony at Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred, Sweden, in front of children from 10 countries and H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden. 

Rachel Lloyd, whose childhood was marked by violence and exploitation, had been chosen by children in South Africa and around the world as Child Rights Hero of the Year and recipient of the World’s Children’s Prize, often called the “Children’s Nobel Prize”. Lloyd, originally from the UK, was honoured for her 20-year fight against domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in the US.

Millions of children took part in the Global Vote, which forms part of the World’s Children’s Prize programme. It educates and supports children in acting as change-makers, standing up for compassion, the equal worth of every individual, children’s rights, democracy and sustainable development. 

Since 2000, 42 million children have taken part in the programme.

Two other child rights champions were also honoured: Gabriel Mejía Montoya who has been fighting to protect vulnerable children in war-torn Colombia for 30 years, and Valeriu Nicolae, who belongs to Europe’s most marginalised minority, the Roma. 

Nicolae has been fighting for the rights of children in extreme poverty in Europe’s Ferentari ghetto in Bucharest. 

Previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (both posthumously).

WCP’s patrons include Malala Yousafzai, the late Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, Desmond Tutu, Sweden’s Queen Silvia and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. South African patrons also include the late Ahmed Kathrada, Iqbal Survé and the singer Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela.

The recipient of the World’s Children’s Prize received SEK 350 000, while the recipients of the World’s Children’s Honorary Awards received SEK 175,000 each. The prize money is to be used in their work for children.

The WCP programme has the support of more than 70 000 schools in 116 countries, as well as over 778 organisations and education ministries and institutions.

Since the start, half a million teachers have been trained in working with children’s rights and democracy in schools.

The initiative is run by the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF), with the support of organisations including the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Sida, Forum Syd, Julia & Hans Rausing Trust, Queen Silvia’s Care About the Children Foundation and the Survé Family Foundation.